Vegetable Sandwich| Bombay Sandwich

I write this post gripped in a wave of nostalgia, flooded with fond memories of the times when we were living in Ahmedabad. I love the diverse street food the city has to offer, and the fact that you could have a delicious meal in just about 30 rupees (I’m talking pre-2009). I’m not sure if things have changed now, but I am definitely sure that the city still continues to offer some brilliant street food that does not cost an arm and a leg. The recipe I’m going to share with you all today is for Bombay Sandwich or Vegetable Sandwich, the way I grew up eating it, something I dearly love.

Bombay Sandwich aka Vegetable Sandwich

What is a Bombay Sandwich?


It is a kind of sandwich made using vegetables, hugely popular in Mumbai. It’s available by the street-side and in several restaurants in Mumbai, and the same goes for Ahmedabad as well. Bombay Sandwich aka Mumbai Sandwich aka Vegetable Sandwich is a big-time favourite in Ahmedabad as well.

The Bombay Sandwich most commonly contains slices of cucumber, onion, tomato, boiled beetroot and potato – with so many veggies going in, this is a healthy sandwich I say! 😜 There’s butter and spicy green chutney going in too, which makes the sandwich super delicious. In Ahmedabad, the sandwich would be served without toasting, on a little square of newspaper, with tomato ketchup on top, over which thin sev would generously be drizzled. It would be served freshly made, with a flourish of chaat masala on top – a veritable treat in itself.

#CookInAJiffy with Foodie Monday Blog Hop


As a teenager in Ahmedabad, I remember making a hearty meal of two of these sandwiches, from Ajit’s, my favourite stall on Ashram Road. I would visit at least once a week, but now, I don’t know if the stall still exists. Anyhow, my visits taught me what an absolute breeze a Bombay Sandwich is to whip up, delish as it is. As I moved to Bangalore, I started making it myself and it was an instant hit with my extended family. I continue to make it often – it’s comfort food for when  I’m not feeling great, it’s an easy meal on days when I don’t really want to cook.

When #CookInAJiffy was announced as the theme for Foodie Monday Blog Hop this week, I instantly knew that I had to write about my beloved Vegetable Sandwich aka Bombay Sandwich. The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday.

It was Sujata ji, the talented blogger at Batter Up With Sujata, who suggested the theme for the week. I love the innovative recipes Sujata ji comes up with, like these Semolina Blueberry Custard Cupcakes and Eggless Fresh Fruit Cake With Black Carrot.

How to make Vegetable Sandwich


Here is how to go about it.

Ingredients (makes 4 sandwiches):

1. 8 slices of bread

2. Salted butter, as needed 

3. Green chutney, as needed

4. 1 small beetroot 

5. 1 small potato 

6. 1 small English cucumber 

7. 1 small tomato 

8. 1 small onion 

9. A little chaat masala, to drizzle on the sandwiches

10. Fine sev, as needed (optional)

11. Tomato ketchup, as needed

Method:

1. Cut the potato into two halves. Transfer to a vessel, and add in enough water to cover the potato halves. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 4 whistles or till well cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.

2. Similarly, cut the beetroot into two halves. Transfer to a vessel, and add in enough water to cover the beetroot fully. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 4 whistles or till well cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, peel the potato and beetroot. Cut both the potato and beetroot into  slices. Keep aside.

4. While the pressure is going down, prep the other veggies we will need to use in the sandwich. Chop the cucumber and tomato into thin slices. Peel the onion and cut into thin rounds. Keep aside. 


Left top and bottom: Steps 1 and 2, Right top and centre: Steps 3, Bottom right: Step 4

5. Spread some butter evenly on one slice of bread. Spread some green chutney evenly on the other slice. 

6. Place the bread slice with green chutney on a plate. Arrange a couple of slices of the boiled potato and beetroot on top of the green chutney. Then, spread a few slices of tomato, onion and cucumber on top of this. Drizzle some tomato ketchup on top of this and sprinkle a bit of chaat masala. (Avoid the ketchup and chaat masala if you are planning to use sev).


Top left: Step 5, Right top and centre: Step 6, Bottom right and bottom left: Step 7 (using sev)

7. Now, close the sandwich using the other bread slice which has butter spread over it. If you are using sev, drizzle some tomato ketchup over the sandwich. Sprinkle a generous quantity of sev over the ketchup and add some chaat masala. Serve the sandwich immediately.


The making of a Vegetable Sandwich, without sev

8. Prepare sandwiches from all the slices of bread, in a similar manner. Cut each sandwich into 4 pieces, and serve immediately.

Tips & Tricks


1. You can use any type of bread you prefer. Ideally, use a good-quality, whole wheat bread made without artificial colouring or flavouring agents, which is free of preservatives.

2. For best results, slice the vegetables thinly.

3. Use the fine variety of sev, popularly called ‘zini sev‘ or ‘nylon sev‘, for best results. It is a bit tough to find in Bangalore, though. The nylon sev from Garden is quite good, but it’s not easy to come across it. Make the sandwich without the sev for a healthier alternative – it still tastes awesome!

4. Here’s a detailed recipe for green chutney, the way I make it. I use the same chutney for my chaats and sandwiches. Keep the chutney thick for best results. A watery chutney will make the sandwich soggy.

5. I prefer having this Bombay Sandwich as is, without grilling. However, you may grill them if you so prefer.

6. Use the no-seed variety of cucumber – also called ‘English cucumber’ or ‘European cucumber’ – for best results.

7. The Bombay Sandwich is best consumed immediately after preparing.

8. I don’t cut off the edges of the bread slices. You may, if you prefer to do so.
9. You can make the sandwich sans onion, if you so prefer. The green chutney can also be made without onion and garlic, if you don’t prefer using them.

10. I have used Amul salted butter and home-made tomato ketchup here. You may use a store-bought version of the latter instead, too.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Vatana Valor Bateta Tuver Nu Shaak| Gujarati Winter Special Curry

So, I finally got around to putting up, on the blog, the recipe for one of my most favourite Gujarati curries ever!Vatana Valor Bateta Tuver Nu Shaak is a heritage Gujarati dish, a classic. It is an absolutely delicious curry, veggies cooked in a green spice paste made using green chillies, coriander, ginger and garlic. An out-and-out flavour bomb this is!

Vatana Valor Bateta Tuver Nu Shaak, an eternal favourite at home!

More about this Vatana Valor Bateta Tuver Nu Shaak

Variations of this sabzi are prepared in Gujarati households everywhere, with the season dictating the major ingredients that go into it. The recipe I’m sharing today includes winter-special produce like vatana (Gujarati for green peas) and tuver dana (pigeon peas), along with valor (hyacinth beans) and bateta (potatoes). Towards the end of this post, I will also tell you how this curry is prepared in other seasons, as well as a few little tweaks you can make to this dish.

Top: Pigeon peas, Bottom left: Fresh green peas, Bottom right: Hyacinth beans.

This is a one-pot recipe, a dish you can prepare in a small pressure cooker. Once you have the ingredients ready, the curry can be put together in just a few minutes. With some hot phulka rotis or plain parathas, this makes for a brilliant side.

How to make Vatana Valor Bateta Tuver Nu Shaak

My grandmother learnt this recipe from a Gujarati friend of ours, years ago, back when we were living in Ahmedabad. It passed on to my mother over the years, and then to me. We have made this curry so many hundreds of times over – it was always a huge favourite at our place, and it still is.Here is how we make it.Ingredients (serves 4): To grind:

  1. A fistful of fresh coriander leaves
  2. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  3. 4-5 cloves of garlic
  4. 2 tablespoons peanuts
  5. 2 green chillies

Other ingredients:

  1. 2 cups of hyacinth beans (valor or avarekkai)
  2. 1 medium-sized potato (bateta or urulaikizhangu)
  3. 1 cup fresh shelled pigeon peas (tuver dana or tuvarai)
  4. 1 cup fresh shelled green peas (vatana or pattani)
  5. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  6. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  7. 3/4 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain, ajmo or omam)
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  9. 1 tablespoon brown sesame seeds
  10. Salt to taste
  11. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  12. 3/4 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
  13. 1-1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder
  14. Red chilli powder to taste (optional)
  15. 1-1/4 cup water or as needed

For garnishing:

  1. Grated fresh coconut, as needed

Method: 1. We will start by prepping the vegetables needed to make the curry. Remove the tops, ends and strings from the hyacinth beans. Chop each one into two pieces. Measure out the shelled pigeon peas and green peas. Peel the potato and chop into large cubes. Keep aside.2. Next, we will prepare the paste required for the curry. Chop the coriander leaves roughly and add them to a mixer jar. Peel the garlic cloves and ginger, chop roughly, and add to the mixer jar too. Chop up the green chillies as well, and add to the mixer jar. Add in the peanuts too. Grind everything together to a smooth paste, along with a little water. Keep aside.

Top: Step 1, Bottom left and right: Steps 2 and 3

3. Now, we will start preparing the curry. Heat the oil in a small pressure cooker bottom. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Then, add in the carom seeds, asafoetida and sesame seeds. Allow these ingredients to stay in the hot oil for a few seconds.4. Turn the flame to low-medium now. Add in all the vegetables we prepped earlier.5. Also add in salt to taste and the turmeric powder. Mix well, gently.6. Add in the jaggery powder and garam masala, if using. Mix everything gently but well.7. Now, add in the spice paste we ground earlier.

Top left and right: Steps 3 and 4, Bottom right: Step 5, Bottom left: Step 6, Above bottom left: Step 7

8. Wash the mixer jar with about 1/4 cup of water and add this to the pressure cooker bottom too.9. Add about 1 more cup of water to the pressure cooker bottom, or as needed to adjust the consistency of the curry. You need to keep the flame at low-medium. Mix well.10. Taste and adjust salt and jaggery if needed. Add in red chilli powder if the spiciness is not enough. Mix well.11. Now, close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Increase the flame to high. Allow 3 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.12. When the pressure has completely gone down, open the cooker and mix up the curry gently. Your Vatana Valor Bateta Tuver Nu Shaak is ready. Serve it hot or warm, garnished with grated fresh coconut, with rotis or plain parathas.

Top left and right: Steps 8 and 9, Above bottom left: Step 10, Bottom left: Step 11, Bottom right: The curry, just after the pressure has gone down fully and the cooker has been opened

Tips & Tricks

1. Adjust the quantity of salt, green chillies and jaggery powder as per personal taste preferences.2. The garam masala is purely optional, but I would highly recommend using it. It adds a lovely flavour to the curry. You may use dhana-jiru (powdered coriander seeds and cumin), that quintessential spice in a Gujarati kitchen, instead of the garam masala.3. Adjust the quantity of water as needed.4. Using the red chilli powder is optional too. If the green chillies are hot enough, you may skip the red chilli powder entirely.5. I have used a small 5-litre pressure cooker to make this curry.6. You may roast the peanuts before adding them to the mixer jar. I usually don’t.7. You may add some fresh grated coconut while preparing the spice paste too. I usually don’t. I prefer garnishing the curry with fresh coconut instead.8. Adjust the number of whistles depending upon the make of your pressure cooker and the amount of water you are using. The above recipe works perfectly for us. Keep in mind that all the veggies need to be cooked through, but not overly mushy.9. Chop the potato into large cubes, to prevent them from getting too mushy.10. I have included the Gujarati and Tamil names of all the vegetables I have used in this curry, for better understanding.11. You may even make this curry in a pan. We have always used a pressure cooker to do so.12. I have used home-made garam masala here. You may use a store-bought version instead, too.13. This is almost an Undhiyu, but not quite. It uses way fewer ingredients than the Undhiyu and far less time, but tastes quite similar.14. The rule of thumb in this recipe is to use a 1:1:0.5 ratio of soft vegetables, seeds like green peas and pigeon peas, and root vegetables. If this ratio is maintained well, it gives a great consistency to the curry.15. A dash of lemon juice can be added, once the curry is ready. It is purely optional, and I usually skip it.16. This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It can be made gluten-free too, by skipping the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most commercial brands of asafoetida available in India use wheat flour, to a lesser or greater extent – they are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely use it.

Variations to the recipe

1. I have used 1 cup each of pigeon peas and green peas here. You may use 2 cups of pigeon peas or green peas instead.2. Skip the garlic in the spice paste, if you do not prefer it.3. I have used hyacinth beans here. You may use Surti papdi instead – a special variety of beans commonly available in Gujarat, especially in the winters. However, papdi is not found in South India. I have found that snow peas or sugarsnap peas work well in place of the hyacinth beans too. Bangalore peeps, you get snow peas and sugarsnap peas at Namdhari’s, in the winters.4. All vegetables used here are fresh. You may use frozen ones too, if you are in the practice of stocking them.5. In the summers, this curry can be made with frozen green peas, hyacinth beans and brinjals.6. You can substitute the potato for a carrot. You can even use a mix of potato and carrot.7. Methi muthiya can be added to this curry too, for extra flavour. I usually avoid them.8. I have used shelled fresh edamame (immature soya beans) in place of pigeon peas in this curry, and loved it too. I found the edamame in Namdhari’s, Bangalore.9. If you have access to shelled hyacinth beans or field beans (valor dana in Gujarati, avarekottai in Tamil), you can add those to the curry too.Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Dhania Panchajeeri Recipe| Dhania Panjeeri For Janmashtami

Dhania Panjeeri – Panchajeeri in Gujarati – is one of the offerings commonly prepared in North India, on the occasion of Janmashtami. Growing up in Ahmedabad, Janmashtami (the birthday of God Krishna) used to be a grand occasion, celebrated with great pomp and gusto. I remember visiting the temple near our place at midnight, on Janmashtami eve, and getting a chance to swing Baby Krishna who would be sleeping in a beautifully decorated cradle. This would be followed by an offering of Dhania Panchajeeri, which I would absolutely adore. Till date, it is this dish that I can associate the most with Janmashtami, and I’m here today to share the recipe for the same.

What goes into Dhania Panchajeeri?

Dhania Panchajeeri, also called Dhania Panjeeri or Dhaniya Prasad, is a mildly sweet dish with hints of spice in it. It contains dhaniya or whole coriander seeds as well as dry ginger powder, both of which aren’t very common ingredients in sweet dishes. It is very nutritious, with the addition of healthy ingredients like nuts and makhana (foxnuts).

There is another type of Panchajeeri made in Gujarat and other parts of North India, which uses wheat flour. Some versions also use edible gum or gond. However, this Dhaniya Panchajeeri includes neither wheat flour nor edible gum.

I learnt this Dhania Panchajeeri recipe from a Gujarati friend of mine years ago, and have always been making it this way. It is super easy to prepare, and can be readied in just a few minutes if you have all the ingredients ready.

How to make Dhania Panchajeeri

Here is how I go about it.

Ingredients (makes about 1 cup):

  1. 1 teaspoon ghee
  2. 1/4 cup whole coriander seeds (dhania)
  3. 1/2 cup foxnuts (makhana)
  4. 1/2 cup dry coconut powder
  5. 1 tablespoon almonds
  6. 1 tablespoon cashewnuts
  7. A little less than 1/2 cup sugar
  8. 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon dry ginger powder

Method:

1. Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the coriander seeds, cashewnuts, almonds and foxnuts , and turn the flame down to medium. Roast on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or till the coriander seeds begin to emit a lovely fragrance. Ensure that the ingredients do not burn.

2. Now, add in the dry coconut powder. Turn the flame down to the lowest. Roast the ingredients for a few seconds. Switch off gas.

3. Immediately transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate. Allow to cool down fully.

4. When all the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, transfer them to a mixer jar. Add in the sugar. Pulse a few times, till you get a powder that is just slightly coarse. Stop at intervals to open the mixer jar and mix up the ingredients. When done, transfer to a clean, dry, air-tight box.

Is this Dhania Panchajeeri vegan and gluten-free?

This recipe is completely vegetarian, but NOT vegan because of the addition of ghee. You can substitute the ghee with coconut oil to make it vegan or plant-based.

This is a completely gluten-free preparation.

Tips & Tricks

1. Make sure the ingredients do not burn while roasting. This might alter the taste of the Dhania Panchajeeri.

2. I have used Khandsari sugar here, in place of the regular refined sugar that is usually used. You can use refined sugar too.

3. Different families have different versions of Panchajeeri – some add in rose petals or banana slices, while some use Khus Khus (poppy seeds) or Char Magaz seeds (a mix of watermelon, musk melon, cucumber and pumpkin seeds). I prefer keeping it simple and basic, the way I have stated above.

4. Make sure the roasted ingredients have fully cooled down, before grinding.

5. You can keep the texture of the Dhania Panchajeeri as coarse or fine as you prefer. I prefer keeping it mostly fine, just slightly coarse.

6. The Dhania Panchajeeri can be stored refrigerated for at least 20-30 days.

7. Use a heavy-bottomed pan only for roasting.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Gujarati Bhakri Pizza| Whole Wheat Pan Pizza

Ever heard of Bhakri Pizza? It is the Gujarati version of thin-crust pizza, and an eternal favourite of mine. The crust of this pizza is made using whole wheat flour, cooked crisp. So, so very delicious! This Bhakri Pizza is sold in street-side carts all over Ahmedabad, and I grew up eating and loving it. Today, I am here to tell you how to go about making it at home.

Gujarati Bhakri Pizza or Whole Wheat Pan Pizza

A closer look at the Bhakri Pizza

The base of the Bhakri Pizza is a bhakri, a popular snack in Gujarati households. Like I was saying earlier, to make the bhakri, wheat flour is bound into a firm dough, with a couple of other ingredients added in. The dough is then rolled out into small discs and cooked on a hot pan till crisp. They can also be baked in an oven.

The bhakri is crispy and crunchy, and holds the toppings of the pizza beautifully. It makes for a clever and wonderful replacement to the maida base used in regular pizza. Bhakri Pizza is definitely healthier and way lighter on the tummy, but every bit just as delectable.

A sweetish sauce is usually spread on the bhakri, which I prefer making at home from scratch, the healthy way. I also add a number of vegetables to the pizza, increasing its nutritive value. The addition of good, unadulterated grated cheese on top makes it all the more flavourful and healthier.

The loaded Bhakri Pizza is then cooked covered on a hot pan till the cheese melts, or baked for a short while. Voila – cute little pizzas are ready! They are perfect for evening snacks or a light dinner, for children and adults alike. We make these for dinner often, as everyone in the family loves them, including my little daughter.

Gujarati Bhakri Pizza recipe for Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe for Bhakri Pizza is brought to you in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this week is #MunchkinMeals, wherein we are sharing healthy, kid-friendly recipes.

The theme for the week was suggested by Narmadha, author of the wonderful blog Nams Corner. I’m in love with this flavourful Paneer Tikka Pizza and this healthy Whole Wheat Cheese Burst Pizza from Narmadha’s blog. Can’t wait to try them out!

How to make Bhakri Pizza

The detailed recipe follows.

Ingredients (makes about 10 pieces):

For the bhakri base:

  1. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  5. 1 tablespoon oil + more for making the bhakris

For the pizza sauce:

  1. 6 medium-sized tomatoes
  2. 1 small onion
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Red chilli powder to taste
  5. 1 tablespoon of jaggery powder or to taste
  6. About 1/2 tablespoon dried Italian herbs

For the toppings:

  1. 1 medium-sized capsicum
  2. 1 medium-sized onion
  3. 4 tablespoons sweet corn kernels
  4. 2 tablespoons red paprika slices or as needed
  5. Grated cheese, as needed
  6. Dried Italian herbs, as needed

Method:

1. We will start with preparing the dough for making the bhakris. Take the whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Add in the salt to taste, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Adding in water little by little, bind into a firm dough. When the dough is ready, add in the 1 tablespoon of oil, and knead a couple more times. Let the dough rest, covered, till we are ready to prepare the pizza, at least 15-20 minutes.

Preparing the dough for the Bhakri Pizza

2. Now, we will get the pizza sauce ready. For this, chop the tomatoes into quarters. Peel and chop the onion roughly. Puree the tomatoes and onion together in a mixer, without adding any water. Transfer this puree to a heavy-bottomed pan, and place on high heat. Cook on high flame till the mixture begins to thicken, 4-5 minutes. You will need to stir intermittently to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. The raw smell of the tomatoes should go away completely. At this stage, add in the salt, red chilli powder and sugar. Cook for a couple of minutes or till it thickens to a spreadable consistency. Switch off the gas and add in the mixed Italian herbs. Allow the pizza sauce to cool down fully.

Preparing the sauce for the Bhakri Pizza

3. In the meantime, let us get the toppings for the pizza ready. Chop the capsicum length-wise and the onion finely. Grate the cheese and keep it ready. Keep the sliced red paprika slices and sweet corn kernels ready.

Getting the toppings ready

4. Now, we will prepare the bhakris for the pizza base. Place a thick dosa pan on high heat. Divide the dough we prepared earlier into 10 small balls or so. Roll out each ball into a small circle, slightly thicker than a phulka roti. Prick some holes all over it, on both sides, using a fork – this will ensure that the dough does not puff up and that the bhakri turns out nice and crispy. Place the rolled-out disc on the hot dosa pan, and spread some oil all over it. Cook till brown and crisp on both sides, pressing with a spatula intermittently, ensuring that the bhakri does not burn. Prepare all the bhakris in a similar manner, and allow them to cool down.

Preparing the bhakris for the pizza

5. We will start making the pizza when the bhakris and the sauce have cooled down enough to handle. Now, spread some of the prepared pizza sauce on each bhakri, and lay out the toppings over it. Spread a generous amount of the grated cheese over the toppings. Cook, covered, on low-medium flame on a hot dosa pan for a couple of minutes or till the cheese melts. Serve the Bhakri Pizza immediately, cut into quarters and garnished with some dried Italian herbs.

The making of the Bhakri Pizza

Tips & Tricks

1. Some families add a bit of fine semolina aka sooji or rava to the wheat flour, to make the bhakri more crispy. We don’t.

2. I have used regular store-bought whole wheat flour here, from Ashirwad. I usually make this with flour ground from whole wheat in a mill, but we haven’t been able to do that in a while and hence the store-bought flour.

3. Some ajwain (carom seeds) can be added to the bhakri dough to make it more flavourful. I don’t, because my daughter doesn’t like it.

4. Use the more tart country (Nati) tomatoes – as opposed to ‘farmed’ ones – to make the sauce. They are more flavourful and make for a delicious sauce.

5. A few cloves of garlic can be added to the sauce too. I have skipped them here.

6. Sugar can be added to the sauce, in place of the jaggery powder. I prefer using the latter. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences.

7. Make sure you cook the bhakris on low-medium flame, till they get nice and crisp. Also, don’t forget to prick the dough on both sides – this is crucial.

8. I have used dried Italian herbs from Keya here. You can even make them from scratch, at home.

9. Use a good-quality cheese to make the pizza as healthy as possible. I have used Akshayakalpa’s organic Aged Cheddar here.

10. Use any veggies that you prefer as toppings for the pizza. Here, I have used whatever I had available. Olives can be added too, but I skipped them since I didn’t have any.

11. Any leftover pizza sauce can be bottled and refrigerated. It stays for 10-12 days when stored this way.

12. You can bake the bhakris instead of making them on the stovetop. I prefer the stovetop.

13. You may skip using the red chilli powder and turmeric powder in the bhakri dough, if you so prefer.

Did you like this recipe? Do let me know in your comments!

Instant Chhundo| Chundo| Gujarati Raw Mango Relish

Come mango season, and I can’t NOT think about Chhundo. Summers, for me, are incomplete without the making of Chhundo at home. This year, considering the lockdown situation, there was all the time in the world to make a batch. It’s all done, dusted, and bottled up! In today’s post, I am going to share with you all an easy method of making Chhundo.

What is Chhundo?

Chhundo – always ‘Chhundo’, never ‘Chhunda‘ – is a type of Gujarati relish made using raw mango and sugar. It is a sweet pickle, with a hint of spice to it. And it is a gorgeous, gorgeous thing! No wonder it is so very popular!

It goes beautifully with rotis, parathas, thepla, dhebra, farsi pooris and several other Gujarati snacks. You will usually find Gujarati families making this in bulk in the summer, when raw mangoes are at their best, storing it in big porcelain jars and using it right through the year till the summer arrives again. Yes, the Chhundo has a great shelf life.

Chhundo is great to pack in school and office lunch boxes, and makes for a great lunch travel companion, too. What’s more, it’s not a very difficult thing to prepare either.

The traditional method vs. the instant version

The Chhundo is traditionally prepared in a very interesting way. Raw mango is grated into a large vessel, then mixed with sugar. Once the mango releases water and the sugar is dissolved, the vessel is placed in the sunlight, with a clean cotton cloth tied over the top. Every evening, the cloth is untied and the mango mixture is stirred. The cloth covering then goes back on, and the vessel goes back to the sunlight the next morning. In 2-3 days, the sugar ‘cooks’ to a syrupy consistency in the sunlight. In about a week’s time, the syrup thickens further – all in the sunlight – and gets ready to store for an entire year.

Now, if you don’t have a constant stream of good sunlight or don’t want to do the whole shebang, there’s the instant version of making the Chhundo. Here, the mango and sugar mixture is cooked on the gas, and the Chhundo is ready in just about 20 minutes. It is this Instant Chhundo recipe that I’m about to share with you all today.

How to make Instant Chhundo

The detailed recipe follows. This is a completely vegetarian, vegan (plant-based) and gluten-free preparation.
Ingredients (yields about 1-1/4 kg):

  1. 1 kg raw mango, about 4 cups when grated
  2. 3-1/2 cups sugar or as per taste
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  6. 1 teaspoon red chilli powder or to taste

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Steps 3 and 4

1. Peel the raw mango. Grate it thick. Collect the grated raw mango in a large, heavy-bottomed pan.

2. Add the salt, turmeric powder and sugar to the grated raw mango.

3. Mix the raw mango, salt and sugar well using your hands. Leave aside for 15-20 minutes.

4. After 15-20 minutes, the mango would have released a lot of water and all the sugar would have gotten dissolved. Place the pan on high heat at this stage.

Top: Step 5, Bottom left and right: Steps 6 and 7

5. Once the pan heats up, turn the flame down to medium. This should take 3-4 minutes. Stir intermittently. The mixture will be quite watery at this stage.

6. Continue to cook on medium flame, stirring intermittently. The mixture will start to thicken in 5-7 minutes, then keep an eye on it. Keep checking the consistency of the sugar syrup. Once it reaches a ‘sticky’ or half-thread consistency, switch off the gas immediately. Check out the video below to get an idea of what ‘sticky’ or half-thread consistency is.

7. Mix in the roasted cumin powder and red chilli powder, after the gas is switched off. Your Instant Chhundo is ready. Let it rest, covered, for 2-3 hours or till it cools down completely. Then, fill into a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and store.

Tips & Tricks

1. You can use any variety of raw mango you prefer. Raw mango that is not overly sour is preferred. Traditionally, a Gujarati variety of mango called Rajapuri is preferred. Since that is not available here, I use the Totapuri variety, which works equally well.

2. Grate the raw mango thick. If you grate it too fine, the mango will not be visible in the Chhundo at all.

3. You may skip the salt completely if you so prefer, or add in a bit more. It completely depends on your taste preferences.

4. Adjust the quantity of sugar you use depending upon how sour the mango is. For about 4 cups of grated raw mango, 3-1/2 cups sugar worked perfectly for us. You may need to use more sugar if the raw mango you have is very sour.

5. You can use jaggery instead of sugar too, or use a mix of jaggery and sugar. I prefer using all sugar.

6. Make sure you keep a keen eye on the sugar syrup. Once the mixture starts thickening, it does so at great speed. If cooked beyond the half-string or ‘sticky’ consistency shown in the video, the Chhundo might get too thick. Ensure that you don’t cook beyond this point.

7. Ensure that the Chhundo is cooked on medium flame. Use a heavy-bottomed pan only.

8. Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder and roasted cumin powder as per personal taste preferences.

9. Allow the Chhundo to cool down fully before bottling it. When refrigerated and used hygienically, it stays well for over a year. I just finished the lot I made last summer!

10. The Chhundo thickens up quite a bit upon cooling, so don’t worry if it looks a tad liquidy when you have stopped cooking.

11. Cinnamon, star anise and cloves are sometimes added (often whole, sometimes coarsely crushed) to the Chhundo, to stop it from getting overly sweet. I usually don’t add these whole spices – you may if you want to.

12. To make roasted cumin powder, I dry roast 2-3 tablespoons of cumin on medium flame in a pan, till fragrant. I then allow this to cool down fully, then coarsely crush it in a small mixer jar. I store this in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and use as needed.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!